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Arterial calcifications in uremic patients:

impact on cardiovascular function


Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of mortality among patients with end-stage renal disease (ESRD). Arterial disease and left ventricular hypertrophy (LVH) are the principal risk factors. Arterial disease is due to two frequently associated conditions: atherosclerosis, i.e. intimal disease characterized by presence of plaques and occlusive lesions; and arteriosclerosis, i.e. stiffening of arteries, associated with alterations of the arterial media.


Atherosclerosis refers to the process of intimal plaque formation or atheroma development. It may be described as an inflammatory response to oxidized low- density lipoprotein (LDL)-cholesterol. Atherosclerotic lesions have a patchy distribution along the artery and cause local stenoses and occlusions. Since blood flow is dependent on the arterial cross-sectional area, any decrease in diameter due to such stenosis can lead to impairments of conduit function and ischemia. Calcification is an intrinsic part of the process (intimal calcification).

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